This weeks superfood is the Flaxseed!!
Flaxseeds are a vegetarian/vegans best friend (among many others) in terms of getting a plant based version of Omega-3 fatty acids since we don’t eat fish and therefore can’t get them that way.
This little seed is also a great source for fiber, lignans, protein, calcium, iron and vitamin E. Once opened it should be stored in the refrigerator to keep form going rancid.
Another great thing about flaxseeds is that they make for a great egg substitute when added with water. It forms a gel-like mixture similar to egg whites. Stir 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed in 3 tablespoons water to replace 1 egg.
1.) Anti-Inflammatory Benefits
Omega-3 fats are used by the body to produce Series 1 and 3 prostaglandins, which are anti-inflammatory hormone-like molecules. Omega-3 fats can help reduce the inflammation that is a significant factor in conditions such as asthma, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, migraine headaches, and osteoporosis.
2.) Omega-3-rich Flaxseeds Protect Bone Health
Alpha linolenic acid, the omega-3 fat found in flaxseed and walnuts, promotes bone health by helping to prevent excessive bone turnover-when consumption of foods rich in this omega-3 fat results in a lower ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats in the diet.(Griel AE, Kris-Etherton PM, et al. Nutrition Journal)
3.) Protection Against Heart Disease, Cancer and Diabetes
Omega-3 fats are used to produce substances that reduce the formation of blood clots, which can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke in patients with atherosclerosis or diabetic heart disease.
Omega-3 fats are also needed to produce flexible cell membranes. Cell membranes are the cell’s gatekeepers, allowing in needed nutrients while promoting the elimination of wastes.
4.) Flaxseeds Help Prevent and Control High Blood Pressure
Individuals whose diets provide greater amounts of omega-3 fatty polyunsaturated fatty acids-and flaxseed is an excellent source of these essential fats-have lower blood pressure than those who consume less, shows data gathered in the International Study of Macro- and Micro-nutrients and Blood Pressure (INTERMAP) study (Ueshima H, Stamler J, et al. Hypertension).
5.) Rich in Beneficial Fiber
Flaxseeds’ omega-3 fats are far from all this exceptional food has to offer. Flaxseed meal and flour provides a very good source of fiber that can lower cholesterol levels in people with atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease, reduce the exposure of colon cells to cancer-causing chemicals, help relieve constipation and stabilize blood sugar levels in diabetic patients. Flaxseeds are also a good source of magnesium, which helps to reduce the severity of asthma by keeping airways relaxed and open, lowers high blood pressure and reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke in people with atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease, prevents the blood vessel spasm that leads to migraine attacks, and generally promotes relaxation and restores normal sleep patterns.
6.) Flaxseed Puts the Brakes on Prostate Cancer Growth
Flaxseed, a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids and lignans, put the brakes on prostate tumor growth in men who were given 30 grams of flaxseed daily for a month before surgery to treat their prostate cancer.
Practical Tip: Study participants took the flaxseed in a ground form to make it more digestible, and mixed it in drinks or sprinkled it on food such as yogurt, cereal or salads.
7.) Special Protection for Women’s Health
Flaxseed is particularly rich in lignans, special compounds also found in other seeds, grains, and legumes that are converted by beneficial gut flora into two hormone-like substances called enterolactone and enterodiol. These hormone-like agents demonstrate a number of protective effects against breast cancer and are believed to be one reason a vegetarian diet is associated with a lower risk for breast cancer. Studies show that women with breast cancer and women who are omnivores typically excrete much lower levels of lignans in their urine than vegetarian women without breast cancer. In animal studies conducted to evaluate lignans’ beneficial effect, supplementing a high-fat diet with flaxseed flour reduced early markers for mammary (breast) cancer in laboratory animals by more than 55%.
For women between the ages of 35 and 55 who are experiencing peri-menopausal symptoms such as irregular menstrual cycles, breast cysts, headaches, sleep difficulties, fluid retention, anxiety, irritability, mood swings, weight gain, lowered sex drive, brain fog, fibroid tumors, and heavy bleeding, a probable cause of all these problems is estrogen dominance. Typically, during the 10 years preceding the cessation of periods at midlife, estrogen levels fluctuate while progesterone levels steadily decline. Flaxseed, by promoting normal ovulation and lengthening the second half of the menstrual cycle, in which progesterone is the dominant hormone, helps restore hormonal balance.
9.) Fend Off Dry Eyes